2023 Permaculture Design Course

An Advanced PDC: 

A proper Permaculture Design Course (PDC) has a well defined syllabus. Most PDCs are crafted for beginners - and a lot of professionals get bored. Our PDC assumes that the student is desiring a course with a bit more substance and grit. This PDC is designed for scientists, engineers, educators or people with a lot of current knowledge of permaculture.

Alan Booker, an engineer himself, has developed a format that caters to these people. Alan’s course will cover everything a PDC normally covers, but is packed with information that can help advanced or expert students take their knowledge to the next level.

Technical Permaculture Design: 

The focus of this PDC is on the technical aspects of permaculture and on professional landscape designing for clients. You will  develop the skills to heal damaged landscapes while providing for your own needs.

 Even if you have a lot of practical experience in various aspects of homesteading already, this PDC will move you past simply thinking in terms of isolated systems and into designing integrated, whole landscapes.

Course Schedule:

Every student will work through the entire design project individually, but always with the support of their design group and the instructors. Students will have multiple chances to present their design ideas and get feedback throughout the course of the first 13 days, building to the final design project presentations on the last day. During these final presentations, each student will present their own design project to the group as if they were presenting to a professional client. 

This is the official schedule. It is possible that a few details might change.

Day 0: Check-In (Saturday, June 17)

Arrival: Airport pickups - 10am to 5pm. Arrival by car: 1pm to 5pm. Register settled in.  Please plan to arrive within this window of time.
Sleep: Try to get plenty of rest. We start early and you have a full day jam-packed with information tomorrow.

Day 1: Introduction and Overview (Sunday, June 18)

Session 1: Introduction and Overview
Session 2: Ethics in Design
Session 3: Design Concepts 1
Session 4: Design Concepts 2
Design Session: Design Project Overview
Evening Session: Group Design Charrette

Day 2: Methods of Design (Monday, June 19)

Session 1: Methods of Design Part 1
Session 2: Methods of Design Part 2
Session 3: Methods of Design Part 3
Session 4: Methods of Design Part 4
Design Session: Design Property Tour

Day 3: Understanding Patterns (Tuesday, June 20)

Session 1: Pattern Understanding Part 1
Session 2: Pattern Understanding Part 2
Session 3: Pattern Understanding Part 3
Session 4: Pattern Understanding Part 4
Design Session: How to Conduct a Client Interview
Evening Session: Group Design Workshop

Day 4: Climate and Trees (Wednesday, June 21)

Session 1: Climate Factors Part 1
Session 2: Climate Factors Part 2
Session 3: Trees & Their Energy Transactions Part 1
Session 4: Trees & Their Energy Transactions Part 2
Design Session: The Client Interview
Evening Session: Introduction to Ecology

Day 5: Water and Soil (Thursday, June 22)

Session 1: Water Part 1
Session 2: Water Part 2
Session 3: Soils Part 1
Session 4: Soils Part 2
Design Session: Software Design Tools
Evening Session: Soil Analysis with the Microscope

Day 6: Soils, Compost, Crops and Seeds (Friday, June 23)

Session 1: Soils Part 3
Session 2: Compost & Aerated Compost Tea
Session 3: Annual Crop Gardening
Session 4: Seeds & Seed Saving

Day 7: Break (Saturday, June 24)

No required sessions. Instructors will be available during the afternoon to help with design projects.
Optional Bonus Evening Session: Herbal Medicine

Day 8: Earthworks (Sunday, June 25)

Session 1: Earthworks Part 1
Session 2: Earthworks Part 2
Session 3: Earthworks Part 3
Session 4: Earthworks Part 4
Design Session: Gathering Climate & Land-form Data
Evening Session: Conservation and Circular Design

Day 9: Humid Tropics & Drylands (Monday, June 26)

Session 1: Humid Tropics Part 1
Session 2: Humid Tropics Part 2
Session 3: Dryland Strategies Part 1
Session 4: Dryland Strategies Part 2
Design Session: Building a Base Map
Evening Session: Movie Night

Day 10: Temperate Climates & Pasture Systems (Tuesday, June 27)

Session 1: Temperate Climates Part 1
Session 2: Temperate Climates Part 2
Session 3: Pasture Systems & Rotational Grazing
Session 4: Food Forests and Perennial Production Systems
Design Session: Sector & Zone Analysis, Designing Water & Access
Evening Session: Learning the Plants of Your Biome

Day 11: Appropriate Technology (Wednesday, June 28)

Session 1: Working with Energy Flows
Session 2: Natural Building Methods
Session 3: The Permaculture Kitchen
Session 4: Sanitation & Health
Design Session: Siting Mainframe Forestry, Buildings, and Permanent Fencing
Evening Session: Question & Answer Night - Alan Booker and Paul Wheaton

Day 12: Aquaculture and Animals (Thursday, June 29)

Session 1: Aquaculture
Session 2: Animal Systems Part 1
Session 3: Animal Systems Part 2
Session 4: Food Storage & Seasonal Eating
Design Session: The In-fill Mosaic and Aquaculture
Evening Session: Design Project Work Time

Day 13: Structures, Community and Economy (Friday, June 30)

Session 1: Designing Invisible Structures
Session 2: Legal Structures & Community Organization
Session 3: Economics & Money Systems
Session 4: Village Development & Human Scale
Design Session: Preparing for the Design Presentation
Evening Session: Design Project Work Time

Day 14: Design Project Presentations (Saturday, July 1)

Morning Session: Design Project Workshop
Afternoon Session: Student Presentations of Design Projects
Evening Session: Student Talent Night (required for certificate)

Day 15: It's over! Go home! (Sunday, July 2)

Everybody packs and heads out.  People get rides to the airport.  Buh-bye!

Daily Schedule

7:00am – breakfast
8:00am – summary of the day
8:30am – session 1
10:00am – session 2
noon – lunch
1:00pm – session 3
3:00pm – session 4
5:00pm – cleanup
6:00pm – dinner
7:00pm – evening presentations
9:30pm to 6:00am – quiet time



Alan Booker

Lead Instructor

Alan Booker is the founder and executive director of the Institute of Integrated Regenerative Design, which trains professional design practitioners to create systems that are ecosystemic, biocompatible, and regenerative. With over 30 years experience in engineering and 20 years in sustainable design, Alan is the author of multiple books. In addition to teaching PDCs, he also provides consulting and workshops on earthworks, soil remediation, composting, forest gardening, holistic management of pastureland, keyline design, aquaculture and aquaponics, off-grid energy systems, and natural building systems.

Helen Atthowe


helen_atthowe holding pepper in farm

Helen has an MS in Horticulture and Agricultural Ecology from Rutgers University; worked at Rutgers in tree fruit IPM; studied natural farming with Masanobu Fukoka. She farms a 211 acre farm in eastern Oregon with her husband, where they have a mixed fruit and hazelnut orchard, small grain and dry bean production, vegetable gardens, high tunnels, and greenhouse.

helen atthowe growing vegan organic food

Paul Wheaton


Paul Wheaton, The Duke of Permaculture, is an author, producer, and certified advanced master gardener. He has created hundreds of youtube videos, hundreds of podcasts, multiple DVDs, and written dozens of articles and a book. As the lead mad scientist at Wheaton Labs, he's conducted experiments resulting in rocket stoves and ovens, massive earthworks, solar dehydrators and much more. 

Thomas J. Elpel


Thomas is an author, natural builder, educator, and conservationist. He has authored multiple books: Foraging the Mountain West, Botany in a DayShanleya's Quest and numerous others about plant identification, wilderness survival, and sustainable living. He has multiple videos: Building a Slipform Stone House from the Bottom UpHow to Make a Grass RopeBuild Your own Masonry Fireplace - Masonry Heater - Masonry Stove, and many more. Thomas regularly teaches classes on plant identification, primitive skills and natural building. He is founder/director of Green University, LLC in Pony, Montana.

Thomas-Elpel books and DVDs copy

Chase Jones


chase jones surveying land in woods with ferns

Chase is a permaculture designer and consultant with a background in anthropology, conservation archaeology, ecology, and geospatial analysis. He is the co-founder of Biodesic Strategies, a permaculture design and construction service that offers ecological design and green infrastructure installation.

For the PDC, Chase will bring both his practical consulting experience and background in the geospatial sciences to the process of helping students understand the tools needed to capture site data, synthesize an accurate base map, and develop a working understanding of any design site.


Note: 80% refunds up to two weeks before the event starts. If you are not comfortable with being recorded, please do not attend. Tobacco free and drug free site.

Regular price tickets will be $1650.  Super Early Bird expires after the first 10 tickets have been sold, so claim your spot!

Permaculture Design Course (PDC)

June 18 - July 1, 2023

Paul will provide three simple meals a day at no charge, but food is not included with your ticket.  If you have special dietary needs/desires, you might want to bring your own food and use our rocket cook stoves, ovens, solar ovens and other cooking contraptions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I attend this online?

Where exactly is Wheaton Labs? 

If I really love it at Wheaton Labs, can I stick around?

Can I bring my kids &/or spouse? Do I have to pay extra for them?

What about my dog?

Smokes?  Booze?  420 friendly?

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What kind of food will be provided?

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